Texas longhorn cattle for sale in Texas

Safety First: 7 Key Tips to Safeguard Yourself around Texas Longhorn Cattle

texas longhorn cattle

ensuring your safety and that of your Texas longhorn cattle: 7 essential safety tips

Are Texas Longhorns dangerous? 

The short answer would have to be YESin certain circumstances, Texas longhorns and all cattle breeds can be dangerous. 

Did you know that according to the CDC, cattle cause about 22 deaths a year in the USA?

However, Cattle breeds are not unlike dogs in some respects. For example, certain dog breeds are more aggressive than others. Our monster Jack Russell, Bonita, weighs less than 7 lbs and is not inherently aggressive. Even if she showed some bad behavior, she could be easily managed compared to say, a pit bull.

ranch dog
Bonita

Like Bonita, Texas Longhorn Cattle are not inherently aggressive, even though their historic reputations may precede them.  Add their horns,  and Texas Longhorn Cattle are still surprisingly gentle when compared with many other cattle breeds. Ask any Texas longhorn breeder and they will tell you that Texas Longhorns seem to know exactly where the tips of their horns are. They will use them if they have to but they generally don’t.

As a result, many Texas Longhorns are halter-trained and/or saddle-trained and ridden. They are often raised as “pasture pets.”  Texas longhorns that are handled frequently and used to human contact are most often friendly towards humans and easy to handle. In our pastures, it’s evident that most Texas Longhorns love social contact.

 

So why are Texas Longhorns dangerous?

texas longhorn calf

In truth, not all Texas Longhorn cattle are dangerous but now and then one bad actor may make an appearance in a herd. Overall, 22 deaths may not seem outrageous. Essentially, this number is not astronomical if one considers that over 28 million cattle are in the USA. Nevertheless, every death is a tragedy. What’s more, this number does not take into account injuries sustained from cattle management, which makes the scenario a little more bleak.

texas longhorn cattle

*** A cow weighs on average 1000lbs plus. That’s a lot more than the average weight of an adult.  If a cow goes rogue against a human, who is going to win? ***

 

Are Texas longhorns dangerous
Meet Trinket. She is the youngest Texas Longhorn in this particular pasture. Her mother, Gaudelupe’s Charm, is one of our oldest cows and in the same pasture, just behind her daughter. Both Texas Longhorn cattle are ‘no malice’ longhorns. The only thing either girl will attack us with is their tongue. Nonetheless, we still drive into their pasture to check on them, rather than doing our rounds on foot.

 


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Our Texas Longhorn Cattle are registered with TLBAA. We offer the finest genetics at the fairest prices.


 

texas longhorn cow

 

 

So whether you prefer to learn by experience, or not, why not take a few moments to read our 7 safety tips with Texas Longhorn Cattle.

We cownt on them to keep us, our customers, and all our visitors, safe.

 

 

1. Perceptions matter – the Number One safety tip with Texas Longhorn Cattle

  • OUR PERCEPTIONS: It helps to keep in mind that pasture cattle and show cattle are different. Show cattle, for the most part, receive consistent care, training, and hands-on grooming. They build trust with their handler every day, over an extended period.  Texas longhorn pasture pets may well be pampered but they may not get the same level of care on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, a Texas Longhorn that lives out in the pastures must remain alert to protect itself in the outdoors. No matter how much time is spent out in the pasture with cattle, it’s not the same as having a show cow in a stall. When out with a ‘pasture pet’,  it’s a good thing to remember that they still have to deal with the elements and the likes of other longhorns, coyotes, bobcats, etc. even if pasture Longhorns are calm, friendly, and tolerant of company.

texas longhorn cattle

  • WHAT DOES A COW PERCEIVE? Understanding what and how a longhorn sees, goes a long way to grasping their behavior in certain circumstances. This understanding helps us manage cattle better. For example, a cow will more readily move in a direction you want her to go if she is looking in that direction and can see a clear path.  Cows have Panoramic Vision, Monocular Vision, and like us but to a lesser extent, Binocular Vision. Cattle cannot see directly behind them or directly in front of them. If you want to upset a cow, just stand behind her for a while. Alternatively, read our blog post, ..from a cow’s point-of-view for more insight on how cattle see things and how to manage their perspective.

are longhorns dangerous


SAFETY TIP WITH TEXAS LONGHORN CATTLE: NUMBER 2 –  Reduce stress

Our behavior matters in reducing a longhorn’s stress and minimizing dangerous encownters 

Cattle that are stressed, can be dangerous. Reducing stressors for cattle, whether Texas Longhorn Cattle or any other breed, is good practice to reduce the dangers associated with working with Texas Longhorns.

Temple Grandin is an expert on animal behavior and a well-known advocate for the humane treatment and management of livestock. Her teachings take into account what and how cattle see things and how we can position ourselves and work around those perceptions. Understanding the concept of the ‘flight zone’ is a good example.

The Flight Zone

The Flight Zone is not unlike our personal space. It is different for every Longhorn based on personality, trust, and stress levels in general. A  Flight Zone could reduce as a cow learns to trust her handler.  In addition to the flight zone,  the significance of the ‘point of balance’ which is located at a cow’s shoulder, is a good reference when moving Longhorns from place to place. For more details on managing your Texas Longhorn cattle, CLICK HERE

Positioning and Common sense tips:-

  • NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A TEXAS LONGHORN, EVER!
  • The head butt zone is self-explanatory. The cow’s kick zone is a little different from a horse’s kick zone. Cows kick sideways.
  • Stand when you can – see the photos, below
texas longhorn cattle
Sometimes, people tend to drop to an animal’s eye level. Accidents happen when you least expect them to. Perhaps because we spend so much time with our longhorns, we have found that our longhorns respond better to us when we are standing. It’s so much easier to get away if necessary when you are standing.

texas longhorns

 

A few other examples to reduce stress…….

  • Don’t rush – rushing a longhorn often has the result of delaying the whole process.
  • Keep the volume down – unless of course your longhorn is already used to a noise like a rattling chain, a car engine, country music, arguments, etc.
  • Stay calm – animals feel our stress
  • Reduce shadows – visual stressors (what cattle see,  as mentioned above) are added hurdles in moving a herd one way or another.

 

texas longhorn cattle

Although the traditions of the Wild West are still very much alive, ranching without horses is more common than it used to be, even with large cattle herds. More and more ranches are reliant on a handful of helpers and most often they are on foot. At GVRlonghorns, for the most part, Paul and I manage our herd on our own. We like it that way as it allows us a little more flexibility to get things done on our schedule. When we are relaxed, it makes a huge difference to the demeanor of our herd. In addition, when we are not rushed, we seem to accomplish more than we anticipated. And when we don’t argue, well, now that’s the bonus!!


 

SAFETY TIP WITH TEXAS LONGHORN CATTLE: NUMBER 3 –  If you don’t have a horse, use horsepower!

  • At GVR Longhorns, whenever possible,  we drive into our longhorn pastures rather than walk. It’s just easier to jump into a  UTV if necessary. Anyway, we are getting too old to hurdle a fence.

Texas longhorns

  • A UTV/Polaris is useful when we have repairs in the pasture, not only to transport the parts required but to “watch” our backs.  Our Texas Longhorns are inquisitive and love to offer their help whenever possible. Parking the Polaris behind us as a blockade or a shield offers the chance to get things done without having to worry about longhorn ‘help’, or hindrance.

texas longhorn cow

  • Similarly,  when we brand and vaccinate in the corral, we bring the Polaris into the working area. We use the back of our Polaris as a working bench( more or less). If we need protection we can hop into it too.
  • Visitors come often to meet our herd. To cover the acreage,  they meet our herd whilst taking a drive in our Polaris. Our visitors’ safety is our number one concern. We can get close and personal to our Texas Longhorn herd but the longhorns cannot get their horns into the vehicle. Our only rule:- visitors stay in the vehicle and our Longhorns know to stay out!

are texas longhorns dangerous


SAFETY TIP WITH TEXAS LONGHORN CATTLE: NUMBER 4 –  A Texas Longhorn cow with a calf is not just a Texas Longhorn cow!!

 The number one purpose of a cow is to have a calf and protect it. Longhorns are exceptional mothers and it’s not unusual for them to act differently with a baby by their side. They are no longer alone. Even in agricultural terms, a cow and her calf are considered one unit.

longhorn cow

Too often, cows rush out defensively at ranchers for getting too close to a calf. In certain circumstances, calves need attention but when they don’t, it’s best to steer clear. During calving season, we often check Longhorn mamas and their babies by using binoculars. Our rule is simple. If a longhorn cow walks away from us, so do we. We back off and give her space. Unless we have a medical emergency, we wait, usually a few days, for our Texas Longhorn mama cows to bring their baby Longhorn calf to us.

texas longhorn cattle


SAFETY TIP WITH TEXAS LONGHORN CATTLE: NUMBER 5 –  Bulls can be bullies

Bulls are designed to breed. They also weigh more than cows, on average. It’s not surprising then that the most dangerous incidents have been caused by bulls rather than cows. Even the most docile of bulls can be more difficult to handle when cows are around.

As a rule, we never trust a bull, even our calm young guy! If he is in a pasture full of cows, we are not on foot in the same pasture. Call us overcautious if you will…we embrace the adage ‘better safe than sorry.’

texas longhorn cattle
RJF Texas Rebel – at vicious stance, complete with eyes closed- lol.

SAFETY TIP WITH TEXAS LONGHORN CATTLE: NUMBER 6 –  Fences are not just for keeping Longhorns in.

Fences are perfect for safe introductions.

  • For peace of mind, our visitors feed our Texas Longhorns from the other side of the fence.
  • We introduce new Texas Longhorns to our herd with a fence division.
  • Similarly, fences are great with kids. It teaches us all boundaries, literally!

texas longhorn calf


SAFETY TIP WITH TEXAS LONGHORN CATTLE: NUMBER 7  –  Don’t underestimate the value of many gates to keep you safe.

Gates are great when managing our Texas Longhorns. At GVR Longhorns, we use them to encourage longhorns into an area safely without a prod.  We find that it’s the best way to move our longhorns with little effort, without having to get into the same area that they are in. Our gates are a safeguard to keep us out of harm’s way. As a result, we have a ton of gates in our corral.

texas longhorn cattle
3 of the 5 Texas Longhorn cows in this photo are easily seen waiting ‘patiently’ in their compartments in our corral all separated by gates. Incidentally, because of our corral design, I was able to separate the cows from the main herd and into these areas on my own, safely.

 


Fun fact: Cattle sleep 1/3 of their time. They ruminate for a 1/3 and they eat for the remainder.

In the time that they are sleeping and ruminating they will generally appear to be more docile, calm, and relaxed than when they are actively eating.  Charles Goodnight planned his cattle trails around the herds’ schedule. When the herd slept, so did the cowboys.  It’s not always feasible. However, if you can do it, it’s worth a try.

texas longhorn cow

IN CONCLUSION:

Texas Longhorn cattle are no more dangerous than any other cattle breeds and are in many instances more docile. Bearing in mind that our  Texas Longhorn Cattle are expressive, they are generally easy to manage and for the most part, they have gentle dispositions. However, common sense must always prevail. At GVR Longhorns we don’t have many rules. Nonetheless, we enforce the rules we have.

We respect each member of our Texas Longhorn Cattle herd in terms of their size and the space they require. We spend a ton of time in the pastures with our Longhorn herd and yet,  pride ourselves at GVR Longhorns in not having had a dangerous incident with our Texas Longhorn Cattle. At the same time, we try hard not to underestimate the capabilities of our longhorns, whether they intend to cause harm or not.


If you would like to become a member of our cowmoonity, please consider subscribing to our blog at GVRlonghorns.com and/or visit our SALEBARN for a chance to own Texas longhorn cattle from our GVR longhorns herd.

to our SALEBARN

Texas longhorn cattle sold at GVRlonghorns

All our Texas longhorn cattle are illegible for registration with TLBAA.

Prices  include vaccinations, deworming, registration with TLBAA, transfer of registration, and castration(where applicable)

As a side note, we wean our calves at 6 months of age. They spend anywhere from a week to three weeks in our corral


Finally, please let us know how you feel about this post in the comments below or email us directly and if you enjoyed reading this article, please consider sharing it.

Thank you for spending time with us,

Cathy


Disclaimer: All material noted above is based on our hands-on experience as ranchers, as well as our observations of our cattle over the years. We have done and continue to do extensive research to maintain our herd‘s optimum health. However, all opinions and statements made on our website are guidelines only. In addition, we are not qualified statisticians/ veterinarians and urge you to consult a specialist with your concerns. We strive to publish accurate information however in the unlikely event that you detect an error, please let us know.
The content of this blog belongs to GVR Longhorns LLC  This is the property of GVR Longhorns LLC and may not be copied in any form. ©GVRlonghorns.com All rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Cathy! Once again your wonderful writing brought me down the rabbit trail! I so love seeing and learning about your longhorns. Your articles are always an absolute pleasure to read. And that picture of Bonita in her winter coat just had me giggling. Thank you for all the time you take to share photos and to write these delightful posts.

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